March 7, 2007

Kick Start Healthy Eating Habits- TODAY

Healthy eating is one that many of us struggle with. But, the Food Network has some great tips that we all could incorporate in our daily meals. I’ve also got a few of my own healthy eating tips that work.

It was about after Christmas I realized it was time to get on a diet. Now, when I say diet I don’t mean a (I can’t anything diet). I’m talking about a healthy way to diet where you can still eat the foods you enjoy and shed those extra pounds.

Here is what works: eat breakfast (start with a piece of toast or oatmeal and a piece of fruit), next have another small “snack” around 9:30 or 10 am (a piece of fruit or yogurt or a small handful of reduced fat Wheat Thins), now’s it’s about lunch time (salad or turkey sandwich or any other sensible meal, but a smaller one) have another “snack” around 3pm and then comes dinner.

Now, this is where things can get tricky. At dinner do not fill your plate and then go back for a second helping. BE SMART! I believe you can still eat the foods you want, but it’s all about proportions….a small piece of meat or fish (make a fist…that is the size of protein source you should have on your plate). Next fill your plate up with all the veggies you want and maybe a small portion of rice or a roll. DO NOT EAT AFTER 8PM. You body’s metabolism slows down and you won’t burn off that handful of chips or Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies you just ate. (I had to use the Thin Mint example because my husband just came home with four boxes the other day).

Word to the wise: If you don’t have “junk food” in your house you won’t be tempted to eat it!

Get your exercise! I workout three to four times per week. Sometimes that means taking a hike for 30-45 minutes for my cardio with my dogs or riding a stationary bike for 30 minutes and then weight lifting for 15 minutes. Many of us burn calories in our daily activities. I like to clean house once a week for an hour straight….I can burn up to 250 calories just cleaning house.

But, the key to a good healthy diet is small proportions and exercising. You’ll be amazed in how much better you feel. It’s hard when you work full-time and live a hectic lifestyle. So, I like to keep healthier meals by my desk, that way I won’t be tempted to run to the vending or soda machines. Speaking of soda: cut your sodas out of your diet and I guarantee you’ll see a difference. DRINK WATER! I drink almost 3 liters of water per day. I bring a 1 liter bottle of water to work with me, so then I can keep track. If you are tired of water, try some of the flavors of Crystal Light.

The healthiest way to cook is with olive oil and herbs. Now, I don’t always follow this because like Paula Deen I LOVE my butter! But, if you are looking for options try using fresh herbs. The Food Network has a great page that tells you everything you want to know about a wide variety of herbs.

Eat little and often - there's evidence that eating small, regular meals throughout the day, rather than one or two large meals, may help to keep your metabolism ticking over. Surprisingly, around 10 percent of the calories we use each day go on digesting and absorbing food - so the more times you eat, the greater this effect is likely to be.

Truthfully, when it comes to losing weight I believe it’s about a lifestyle change more than anything. Yes, you can still eat ice cream, cake, pie, etc., but in moderation. You have to incorporate your food groups: Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, Dairy, Meat & Beans, Oils and Physical Activity. Eat your food groups, drink lots and lots of water and exercise and you’ll be on your way.

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